Both the Dow and the S&P 500 have broken records in the last two weeks. On March 28, and after weeks of inching its way toward the goal line, the S&P finally broke through its October 2007 watermark of 1,565.15 to close at 1,569.19, gaining 10 percent for Q1.
Meanwhile, on March 5, the Dow broke its October 2007 high closing at 14,253.77, and proceeded to re-break that high repeatedly throughout the month. In the past week alone it has set two new records, with its last close at 14,578.54 being the new pinnacle, all while gaining 11.25 percent during Q1.
The Nasdaq, having gained 8.2 percent on the quarter, hasn’t exactly been lagging either.
The stocks that have led this year’s opening rally on the S&P 500 include:
Netflix (NFLX) – Up 104.43 percent in 2013, shares are currently trading at $189.82. Though the company faces increasingly stiff competition on a number of fronts in the rest of 2013, particularly from Amazon.com (AMZN), its share price has more than doubled this year due to factors such as increased memberships and the success of its first original series House of Cards, for which it took the controversial move of releasing all the episodes at once.
Best Buy (BBY) – The company’s turnaround strategy, involving cost-cutting measures, a simplification of the supply-chain and, most importantly, a price-matching strategy that seems to be dampening the effect of the Amazon-induced “showrooming” phenomenon. All of this has pulled Best Buy out of rumors of a buyback that would have taken the company private, to a 2013 performance that has seen its stock gain 88.35 percent, currently trading at $22.15.
Safeway Inc. (SWY) – With over 1,600 stores, Safeway is one of the largest grocery/drug stores in North America. Their most recent personalized discount program, “just for U”, was a resounding success, and the company regularly delivers good earnings and dividends. Shares have gone up 46.71 percent so far this year, and as of Thursday’s close are priced at $26.35.
Other notable S&P performances include Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), up 68.36 percent, Dell Inc. (DELL) up 42.16, and a number of oil & gas companies such as Marathon Petroleum (MPC) up 42.83 percent, Valero Energy (VLO) up 33.91 percent, Hess Corp (HES) up 35.42 percent, and Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) up 35.98 percent.
Best performances on the Dow for 2013 include:
Hewlet-Packard (HPQ) – The computer company has been the biggest gainer on the Dow so far in 2013, increasing 68.36 percent year-to-date, with shares trading at $23.84. HP has been quietly executing a turnaround strategy to stay abreast of the mobile takeover, after an awful 2012, and just this month increased its dividend by 10 percent.
American Express Co. (AXP) – The credit card company has gained 17.77 percent this year, with shares trading at $67.46. This month, the Federal Reserve approved its share buyback program and allowed the company to raise its quarterly dividend to $0.20 per share for Q1 and $0.23 per share for Q2.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – The pharmaceutical company is up 17.24 percent in 2013 with shares at $81.53. The company has lots of money, little debt, and performs consistently in line with analyst expectations. Proof of this in recent months can be found in the fact that J&J has been able to weather several product recalls and lawsuits.
Other winners on the Dow so far have been Aerospace/Defense giants Boeing (BA) up 14.65 percent, and United Technologies (UTX) up 14.61 percent, as well as McDonald’s (MCD) up 13.93 percent, Coca-Cola (KO) up 11.82 percent, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) up 11.82 percent, and Wal-Mart (WMT) up 10.39 percent.
Among the small-cap performers, there have been some outstanding performers that should be included in this list for good measure:
Online real-estate sites Zillow (Z) up 97 percent, and Trulia (TRLA) up 93.23 percent, Fiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI) up 73.43 percent, Shutterstock Inc. (SSTK) up 73 percent, WebMD Health Corp. (WBMD) up 69.60 percent, Angie’s List Inc. (ANGI) up 64.80 percent, SolarCity Corp. (SCTY) up 58.26 percent, and RadioShack Corp (RSH) up 58.49 percent.
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